Posts tagged Dance
Photographing the arts: is your photographer part of your creative team?

Theatre, dance, opera and music are some of the things I most enjoy working on as a photographer. But surprisingly often, I get a call or an email that starts off, 'I know this is short notice, but' - and it can be anything from 'we've just realised we need a photographer for next week' to 'our dress rehearsal is in an hour, can you make it?'

Often, this isn’t the production's fault - they had someone booked, something happened, they need to find another photographer on short notice. But it got me thinking recently, what's the best way to involve a photographer in a show? In an ideal world, how & when would I like to be contacted…?

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First XV: Giselle at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2008)

If you've visited my website at all in recent years, you've probably seen this one already! Taken at a rehearsal for Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre's production of Giselle at the New Zealand International Arts Festival, it's been one of my all-time favourites for almost a decade now.

As with so many of my favourite images, it doesn't explain itself - but with a graphic shape and strong colour (if not quite clean lines), it lures you into wanting to know more...

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‘Suddenly Wellington sort of grew up’ - 30 years of the New Zealand International Arts Festival

One of the longest & proudest associations I've had as a photographer - and as a person, really - is my work over fifteen years with the New Zealand International Arts Festival. I moved to Wellington in 1997, working as a box office manager at the time, in part lured by the fact that the venue I'd be working on was the primary ticketing agency for the Festival, and moreover that Wellington would be the last place ever to see Robert Lepage's Seven Streams Of The River Ota in 1998...

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Photographing the arts: two sides to every story

Once, early in my career, someone gave me wise advice about photographing events: 'remember, there are two sides to every story. There's what's happening on stage, and then there's the audience's reaction to it.'

Naturally, not every event I work on has an audience in attendance - often, I'm at a dress rehearsal, with only the director & crew - but also, most of the time, the audience (deliberately) isn't lit! So the opportunity to make use of this suggestion isn't always there; but once in a while, the chance comes along, and it's great to be able to take it...

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Photographing the arts: what skills are involved?

When I was studying drama at university, I went for an interview to spend the summer at the Banff Centre For The Arts. I'd been focussing on the technical side of theatre at that point, including a bit of stage management, and thought this might be an interesting way to spend a few months between school terms.

The question was asked: did I read music? And frankly, it had never occurred to me that this might be a useful skill - our university programme was pure theatre, not even musicals, much less opera or dance; so it had never come up, and of course I didn't. So, I didn't go to Banff, and I didn't become a stage manager...

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Toi Mana, Tu Mahi Toi, Festival Picnic (2004), Schoolfest (2006), Frisky & Mannish (2010), Raoul and NZTrio (2012)

Last one!  It's the closing day of the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington, so I'm wrapping up this series here.  Hope it's been interesting!

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Indian Ocean (2002), Verona (2004), Don McGlashan (2006) & Giselle (2008)

A good selection today!  First up is Indian Ocean, a band that appeared in Civic Square as part of the Out & About section of the Festival (which one year was run by a Canadian, to much hilarity in the office) - and second isn't from a show, it's the band Verona from the show Geographical Cure in the 2004 Festival, but at the traditional Government House reception that all artists were welcome to attend.  A great bunch of people, and one of my favourite New Zealand bands.

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Aarero Stone (2006), The Winter's Tale & Beautiful Burnout (2012)

A mix of boxing, Shakespeare and dance, today - first a 2006 show, Aarero Stone, featuring Carol Brown and Charles Koroneho at Soundings Theatre in Te Papa.  I actually photographed this one over a couple of days' rehearsals as it came together towards opening night - which often happens - but it still stands out in my head for the images that came out of it, this many years later.

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: MTYLand & Sound Of Silence (2010)

Two shows from the same year (and the same day), today - plus a bonus photo of lovely Vi Blackburn, who has been ushering and selling programmes around Wellington for as long as anyone can remember.  This is possibly the first photo I got of her in action, but I always tried to track her down at some point during each Festival.

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Sutra (2010)

Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's work had been to New Zealand before, with works like Iets Op Bach and Foi appearing at the Festival previously, but I think Sutra was the first to appear under his own name rather than as part of Les Ballets C de la B.  (Happy to be proven wrong of course, but that's how I remember it!)

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Photographing the arts: What the heck is that thing!? (Why, it's a blimp, of course...)

If there's one piece of camera gear I spend the most time talking to people about, it would have to be this: my Jacobson Sound Blimp.

When I'm talking to clients about it, it's my 'silencer' - which lets me photograph in near silence during filming, concerts, operas, and theatre performances with an audience.  When people do (occasionally) spot me during these kinds of shoots, mostly they imagine it's a giant old film camera, and wonder why I'm not into digital like all the kids are today!

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